Stingrays Cash In on the Millionaires and
Win 52-34 to Capture First Ever Conference Title
The Stingrays came into Saturday’s Southern Conference Championship game with more than one thing on their minds. Not only would a win bring the organization their first title and a chance to play in the United Cup III Championship Game on June 1 in Clearwater, but they were also playing for their owner Jay Lawrence who was hospitalized on the eve of the title game. A few players visited Jay in the hospital prior to the game to guarantee that they would win for him, and Head Coach Chris Morant made sure in his pre-game speech to remind each player what was at stake. “We fought all season long to get to this point, so leave it all on the field,” he continues, “and remember your biggest fan, who we almost lost is lying in a hospital bed and wishing he can be here to root you on”. “If you have nothing else to motivate you, win for Jay”.
And his players responded by scoring the first touchdown of the game on a long touchdown pass by MVP Candidate, Quarterback Lonnie Young to Wide Receiver Steve Stillman to make the score 6-0 and after a two point conversion by WR Ray Robinson was successful, the Stingrays led early 8-0. The Millionaires would strike back and score a touchdown but missed an opportunity to tie the game on a missed two point conversion. The Stingrays would score again with another long pass by QB Young to WR Steve Stillman (3 TD, 160 Yds receiving) to push the score to 16-6 after one quarter.
The teams battled for the first half with momentums seeming to change each time each team would score. Close to the half the Millionaires gained an edge on the Stingrays when they battled back to take the lead at 22-16. But once again the Stingrays offense would answer the call, on the arm of their QB Lonnie Young and scored again and after a 2 point conversion by RB Leon Hutchins they took the lead at 24-22.
This game reminded the Stingrays of their first meeting with the Millionaires, where the Stingrays had the edge going into the half only to see the game go back and forth and the Millionaires come out on top. But Coach Morant wouldn’t allow his players to worry about that. “We are a different team, we worked hard to be here, and no one can beat us, just believe that”, says Coach Morant.
When the second half started the Stingrays battled again and kept their composure and quickly scored to make the game 32-22. The Millionaires fought right back and scored a touchdown but missed yet another two point conversion which made the score 32-28. With this game starting to look and feel like their first meeting the Stingrays buckled down and scored, but after a missed two point conversion, the lead remained at 38-28. But they knew that ten points wouldn’t be enough to win so the defense quickly took over which was led by Linebackers Troy Green (8 tackles), Kelvin Green (7 tackles) and DB Jari McMiller (7 tackles, 1 INT) and made big stop after big stop, which allowed the offense to continue to pour on the points. The Stingrays scored another touchdown and made the extra point conversion which made the score 46-28. Still with more than a quarter to go, and with a Millionaires team that has also shown to be able to battle back, the fans watched nervously as the Millionaires scored again to make the score 46-34.
On this night, destiny was in the air, it was like a perfectly scripted movie, owner gets sick and is admitted into hospital, players have to dig deep not only to play with a chance to win a title but with a special dedication to win for their owner. No one could have written it better, so with so much on the line, the team answered the bell one last time and scored with another touchdown pass by QB Lonnie Young (6 TD Passes, 1 Rushing TD, 550 Yds passing) to WR Vance St. Gourdin (3 TD passes, 110 yds receiving) to make the score 52-34 and finally put the nail in the coffin and win the biggest game in their team history.
Now they rest up for the next two weeks and get ready to represent Southwest Florida at the United Cup III Championship on June 1st at Clearwater, High School. They will be taking on the Brooksville Ballers who beat the Orlando Phantoms 28-27 on a last minute blocked field goal attempt. Each team will be facing each other for the first time with a chance to take home the title.
Team Honorable Mention
Lonnie Young – Passing 6 TD, Rushing 1 TD, Passing Yards 550 Yds
Steve Stillman – Receiving 3 TD, 160 Yds
Ray Robinson – Rushing 1 TD
Kelvin Green - 7 Tackles
Cory Hickson - 6 Tackle
Solomon Mitchell - 5 Tackles
2013 PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Saturday May 4th
Wild Card Playoffs
Tampa Bay Stallions 0 at Stingrays 44
Saturday May 11
South Conference Semi-Finals
Stingrays 38 - Veterans 20
Saturday May 18
South Conference Finals
Sarasota Millionaires 38 v. Stingrays 52
7:00 pm - Ruttenberg Park
Saturday June 1
United Cup III Championship
Brooksville Ballers v Stingrays
TBA - Clearwater High School
The Stingrays would like to thank all of our sponsors for another great season. It's because of businesses and people like you that make what we do easy. We look forward to working with you next season.
JOURNEYMEN - THE FILM
This film will give you an inside look into the lives of football players journeys down the semi pro football ranks and why they risk it all for their once vivid dream. They were either once touted as the next big name in the NFL or just a local kid with dreams bigger than his talents. Is semi pro football their ticket back to where they feel they belong or just an obstacle to what their reality will truly become.